Different Types Of Fat And How Much Fat Should You Eat?
Fat is an important source of energy. One gram of fat contains 9 calories, which is more than twice of energy a gram of protein or carbohydrate will generate. Since fat contains so much energy, it’s easy to gain weight if you get too much of fat from your diet. However, to completely rule out the fat from the diet would be very unhealthy. Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K need fat to be absorbed by the body. Fat is also needed to protect internal organs, build and repair cells, produce hormones, protecting the body against cold and regulate body temperature.
Types of fat – There are three types of fat: saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature and is found mostly in animal products. This type of fat raises your cholesterol, which can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Sources of saturated fat include meat, dairy products and eggs, but also some vegetable products such as coconut and palm oil.
Polyunsaturated fats (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are liquid at room temperature and are found primarily in vegetable products. This is a good type of fat that can help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Sources of polyunsaturated fats include vegetable oils (mainly olive and canola oil), seafood, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Trans-fats are another type of unsaturated fat similar to saturated fat. It can both raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) while lowering the good cholesterol (HDL). Trans-fats are used to improve the flavor and prolong the shelf life of processed foods, such as cakes, pastry and French fries. Avoid trans-fat!
How much fat should you eat? – Approximately 30% of the total calories you consume per day should come from fat. Of the 30%, two-third should be come from unsaturated fat and no more than one third of the saturated fat. 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.
Here is an example of how much fat will be needed for a person with an energy requirement of 2,000 calories per day:
Calories from fat: 30% of 2000 = 600 calories
Grams of fat: 600/9 = 67 grams
Unsaturated fat: 2.3 out of 600 = 400 calories (44 grams)
Saturated fat: 1/3 of 600 = 200 calories (22 grams)